The Disaster Law Programme and the COVID-19 Response in Asia Pacific

The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the need for all emergency response and preparedness efforts, whether it be for natural hazards, including those that are climate-induced, or public health emergencies, to be underpinned by clear laws and regulations.  This unfolding situation also exemplifies the importance of strengthening and aligning coordination, complementarity, and where possible integration between climate, disaster risk management and health systems in response to COVID-19, at both national and regional levels.
In Asia Pacific, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Disaster Law Programme is providing legal advice and assistance to National Societies and governments as they contend with the legal and humanitarian implications of the pandemic.
On the ground, Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are working with their governments, in their mandated roles, to help prevent transmission of the virus, to help communities already affected by the outbreak to maintain access to essential social services, and reduce the economic, social and psychological impact on people. And as the next disaster does not wait for the pandemic to end, Red Cross Societies are responding to disasters within the context of the virus, which for disaster law shows the further importance of laws that recognise multi-hazard events.